Archive for March, 2009

I’ve just been to the exhibition of ‘Zapatos de Cine’ or ‘movie shoes’ at the

Sexy and sparkling; Samanthas shoes from Sex and the City

Sexy and sparkling; Samantha's shoes from Sex and the City

Santo Domingo Convent in La Laguna.

I admit to having had a nano-second shoe crisis before I left which is ridiculous really because who’s going to be looking at my shoes when they can gaze on James Dean’s or Marilyn Monroe’s?

Over two floors, in circular Perspex tubes, three pairs to a tube, were shoes worn by actors and actresses in movies that spanned Charlie Chaplin to Kill Bill.

Amongst the exhibits were some surprises that shed new light on their wearers. The white boots worn by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars were very gay if you ask me; the sandals worn by Thelma (or was it Louise?) in ‘Thelma and Louise’ looked suspiciously like the sort you can buy for €3.99 in Al Campo every summer; Uma Thurman’s feet must be at least a size 9 judging by the yellow trainers from Kill Bill and Arnie’s feet must be the size of a ten year old’s to look at his Terminator boots.

But some shoes were exactly what they should have been. Mary Poppins’ boots looked as if they’d sing ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ if you let them out of the tube; Kirsten Dunst’s Manolo Blahniks were worth losing your head over, Dorothy’s shoes were certain to take you wherever you wanted to go if you just clicked the heels three times and James Dean’s boots whispered teenage angst in a Marlborough infused voice.

I wondered if, like dogs, shoes took on their owner’s appearance. Then I looked down at my tired and scruffy eight year old Merrells.
OK, time to schedule a visit to Carolina Boix.

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“I know an old woman who swallowed a fly.
I don’t know why…
She swallowed a fly…
Perhaps she’ll die.”

I have high blood pressure and take tablets to reduce it. I’ve been taking the same tablets for more years than I care to remember. In the UK, they were prescribed to me by the doctor but since moving here, like so many other things, my health has assumed a much higher DIY content. I have a small machine that straps onto my wrist with which I monitor my pressure from time to time and I buy my tablets over the counter.

Recently, I have begun to realise that I am paying full price for my medication when I’m actually entitled to get medicines at a reduced rate as Jack is paying the autónimo (the equivalent of national insurance contributions only MUCH more expensive).
I’ve also noticed a hike in the readings on my monitor, which is not good and my nursey friend tells me the type of tablets I’m taking are medically speaking akin to the abacus and that medicines in the treatment of high blood pressure have moved on apace.

So, it’s high time I went to see a doctor and got myself some better, cheaper medication.
If only it were that easy.

Before I can see a doctor I have to be registered.
She swallowed a spider to catch the fly

And before I can be registered, Jack has to be registered.
She swallowed a bird to catch the spider

So it’s off to the local health centre where Jack gets himself registered for a tarjeta  sanatoria, or health card.

“So, can I make an appointment to see the doctor please?”
“No. Before you can see a doctor you have to be registered as Jack’s beneficiary as he’s the one paying the autónimo, not you.”
She swallowed a cat to catch the bird

“And can I do that here?”
“No, you have to go to Social Services in La Orotava.”
She swallowed a dog to catch the cat

As these establishments are only open for mornings, we’re now looking at another lost half day.

After queuing for an hour in the grottiest public office I’ve seen since the 1980s, we find that before I can register as a beneficiary I need to be registered as a citizen of the EU which I have to do at the local police station in Puerto de la Cruz.
She swallowed a goat to catch the dog

Another day, another venue and a couple of mornings later we head off to the local police station.
But before I can get my certificate of registration as an EU citizen, I need my empadronamiento or certificate of residence in Puerto, which I get from the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).
She swallowed a cow to catch the goat

“I know an old woman who swallowed a fly.
I don’t know why…
She swallowed a fly…
Perhaps she’ll die.”

I know how she feels.

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You may imagine that living on a tropical island I must spend a great deal of my time lying on a beach topping up an all-year tan. You’d be mistaken.

For one thing, I’m desperately trying to make a living which is proving particularly difficult in these times of ‘economic crisis’ and for another, my standards for what I consider to be a beach day have changed somewhat. In other words, I’ve become fussy.

Before I moved to Tenerife, any small break in the clouds would have me stripping off and lying prone until the cold became intolerable and I’ve spent many an hour on some beach or in the garden, wrapped in a towel waiting for the sun to reappear.
Nowadays, when the rare opportunity to spend a day on the beach presents itself, nothing less than unbroken sunshine in an azure sky and air temperatures of at least 24°C will hack it.

Our local beach,Bollullo...bliss!

Our local beach,Bollullo...bliss!

For those two reasons, as I sit here I’m as pale as milk and haven’t been to the beach since early November.

Well this week was post-Carnaval week; a period traditionally dedicated to R&R after the excesses of alcohol, the disrupted eating and sleeping patterns and the physical demands of repeatedly walking the 3 kilometres to town and back, partying until morning and spending hours on our feet parade watching. Coupled with an impending visit from our friend Jo en route from the UK to her home on La Gomera, this week presented the perfect opportunity to put in some beach time.

Unfortunately, having spent all day Tuesday cleaning the house and converting the small room from office to guest bedroom, when Jo arrived my visions of two days feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and the heat of the sand beneath my toes vanished in 18°C temperatures and cloudy skies. By way of a double whammy, the now abandoned hope of beach time was replaced by Jo’s busy schedule of ‘things we could do instead’.
Cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking, gardening (including weeding our neighbour’s garden while he played golf!) and walking, plus a few hours of essential work is not my idea of complete rest.

Admittedly watching football, Mamma Mia! and Blackpool went some way to compensating and it’s always a joy to spend time with Jo, but nevertheless, as far as I’m concerned I’m OWED beach time. So I hope the weather Gods have enjoyed their R&R since Carnaval ended because at the first sign of sun next week I’m beach bound …provided the thermometer’s moved up about six degrees of course.

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